Alaska National Guard in talks with state to help alleviate ASD bus driver shortage

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – The Alaska National Guard has received a request from the State of Alaska to assist the Anchorage School District in their need for bus drivers.

A National Guard spokesperson said they have been in contact with the Alaska Emergency Operations Center, adding that this partnership is still in the works and they do not have a concrete answer yet if the partnership will be possible.

The school district has been forced to suspend routes in the early days of the school year, which began for students on Thursday.

“We met with a team from the Alaska National Guard, met with the superintendent and some of his staff to learn more about what their needs were, and sort of brainstorm what would be possible,” National Guard spokesperson Alan Brown said.

However, first-year Anchorage School District Superintendent Jharrett Bryantt said Thursday that he had not been in touch with military personnel about the potential partnership.

“I am not aware of that,” Bryantt said in an interview Thursday. “I was at the base all day this morning and I had the opportunity to speak with families about how pleased they are to be back in school.”

Brown said that the discussion earlier this week consisted of understanding what the district’s needs were.

“They shared their issues, their challenges, what their needs were and then from there, we took that information and that’s where we’re at,” Brown said. “We are conducting an analysis at our level to determine what we could do to assist.”

According to ASD, the district currently has 52 bus drivers working throughout the district. The district is in need of 70 bus drivers to fill their schedule, and with 50 currently in the hiring or training process, the superintendent stated that he plans to have only 20 vacant positions by the end of September.

Brown hopes that they will be able to have a plan in place over the next few days to see if the partnership with the district would be possible. Currently, Brown said there are no discussions being had with other districts statewide.

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